Washington, DC – In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama renewed his commitment to withdraw US troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year.
But he said the US preferred to leave “a small” number of US troops in Afghanistan, where they can engage in both training Afghan forces and carrying out irregular raids on radical militants.
But Afghan President Hamid Karazai has not yet agreed to a security agreement that would allow for US troops to stay past 2014.
This somehow reminds us of Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri Maliki, under pressure from Iran and anti-American domestic figures such as Muqtada al-Sadr, was not willing to extend the presence of any number of US troops after 2011.
In his recently published book, Robert Gates calls the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq a "victory" for Iran.
Iraq has recently seen a spike in violence and resurgence of al-Qaeda affiliated militants.
Now there is similar fear about the resurgence of Islamic militants in Afghanistan.
So is Hamid Karazai Afghanistan’s Nuri Maliki? What are the challenges facing the U.S. with Hamid Karazai? Are we going to see the repeatition of what many see as the Iraq mistake?
To discuss this subject, Rudaw’s Namo Abdulla talks to:
-Marvin Weinbaum, a political scholar at the Middle East Institute. He previously served as an analyst on Afganistan at the State Dept.
- Scott Bates, President of the Center for National Policy at the Truman National Security Project joins. Bates has worked in Afghanistan as part of an American team to promote democracy and good governance in the country.